Skip to main content

James Murphy and Heineken have come together for a sublime subway fantasy

James Murphy and Heineken have come together for a sublime subway fantasy


Yr city's a sucker, my city makes music

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

James Murphy's been busy since disbanding his beloved rock band LCD Soundsystem, and one of his pet projects has been a campaign to aurally beautify the New York City subway system through its turnstile payment machines. Murphy wants to replace the turnstiles' current beeps with short sequences of notes, which would then would overlap and intersect at each station depending on the lines that run through it. He first detailed the project last year, and he's now partnered with Heineken to launch the Subway Symphony campaign in an attempt to make his vision a reality. (The video tied to the campaign's launch features the LCD Soundsystem cut "Home" from 2010's swan song This Is Happening.)

Unfortunately, Murphy's musical subway dream is going to remain just that

There is some precedent for station-dependent jingles and tonal clumps; for example, train stations in Tokyo play short jingles upon arrival and departure to give passengers a non-visual cue while they're traveling. But unfortunately for Murphy, his musical subway dream is almost certain to remain just that. "We've heard from him, and as we've told him many times, we cannot do it... it would be a very cool project, don't get me wrong, but we can't mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it," said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg in a statement to Gothamist. In fact, Murphy and Heineken had to acknowledge that the project can't happen to gain permission to film in the subway.